GoNoodle program promotes physical activity, mindfulness
Posted 12:01 a.m. Monday
LAKE CHARLES, La. — First-grade students at A.A. Nelson Elementary School closed their books and quickly spread out around the classroom recently when their teacher gave the word.
It was GoNoodle time, a time when talking and moving around is not just allowed, but encouraged.
GoNoodle is an international program that promotes physical activity and mindfulness in the classroom. Children's Miracle Network has funded GoNoodle in Calcasieu Parish schools for 31/2 years. It also began funding the program at Jeff Davis Parish schools this fall and hopes to expand to all five parishes.
"I want every one of them to have GoNoodle — that's my mission," said Children's Miracle Network Director Cara Wyland.
Since students don't have recess every day any more, they have to sit in place for hours at a time if they don't have a program like GoNoodle, Wyland said.
"It really helps them to release that excess energy," she said. After expending energy, they have a relaxation period to "calm down and center," she said.
Students on Nov. 17 danced along to a GoNoodle routine on screen. They then ran in place to a video while they answered math problems that posed as obstacles on screen. After a few more videos, the students settled down for mindfulness time.
First-grade teacher Elizabeth Hargett said GoNoodle has been an invaluable addition to her classroom. She said it breaks up the day and gets students in the right frame of mind.
"They're six — they're not meant to sit for hours at a time," Hargett said. She said the program also helps with discipline because students are allowed to channel their energy in a constructive way.
"Those ones that have to move get a chance to move and aren't going to be doing it in other ways, like kicking their friends," she said.
She said GoNoodle stands out from other programs and from using a custom exercise plan because it's easy to use, allows teachers to input their current lesson plans, and "builds upon itself " from year to year.
"They love it. I love it. It just works," she said.
Calcasieu Parish schools recently celebrated more than 6 million minutes of physical activity documented with Go-Noodle last school year. Now, Jeff Davis schools have the same opportunity.
Jeff Davis teachers received training this summer and began implementing GoNoodle in their classrooms this fall.
Jennings Elementary fourth-grade teacher Jill Gale said her students constantly ask her, "Is it GoNoodle time?" She said it has already helped them focus and learn material more quickly.